Suspended McLaren chief designer, Mike Coughlan has confirmed that a number of people at the Woking-based outfit were aware that he had the 'secret' Ferrari dossier.

According to reports in the press, the information has allegedly come to light after Italian daily newspaper, La Repubblica, reported that Coughlan confirmed as much in the 'confidential affidavit' that he handed over to Ferraris lawyers in London last week.

"It's true. I had all the designs," Coughlan is quoted as saying by the Mail on Sunday.co.uk. "It was my responsibility.

"I showed those designs to McLaren and not just to Jonathan Neale (team manager) but to others as well. Everyone reacted the same way and told me to get rid of them."

If this latest information does prove to be true, then it is in someways contrary to the position maintained by McLaren team boss, Ron Dennis - namely that Coughlan acted alone.

"McLaren has completed a thorough investigation and can confirm that no Ferrari intellectual property has been passed to any other members of the team or incorporated into its car," read a statement from McLaren team earlier this month.

In another report meanwhile, The Times says that Ferrari's ex-head of performance, Nigel Stepney - thought to be the source of the leak - is not named by Coughlan in his affidavit. Indeed Coughlan merely reveals that he received the information by an 'express courier' mail service.

When he got the documents is also in dispute, and while it was originally reported that he had them from April, the FIA believes he may have had them from March and Ferrari believe more information could have been sent in May.

Whatever the truth, if McLaren are found guilty, the team could face severe punishment - including, worst case scenario, exclusion from the championship.

For the record, it should be noted that McLaren - and Stepney - have always maintained their innocence.

More to follow as and when it develops...

 

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